BY: John Mamola

The NFL calendar has officially begun as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have officially opened up training camp for the 2014 season today.  Players began reporting to One Buccaneers Place as early as 6am as they begin their quest under new head coach Lovie Smith for a bounce back campaign following a 4-12 season in 2013.

“I’ve gotten so much response from them (Bucs Fans) about what they’re expecting from their football team,” said Smith in his introductory press conference Thursday.  “That’s what we’re planning on giving them.  A team that shows up each day and each week and giving great effort, to play hard and make Raymond James Stadium a place that teams are afraid to play in.”

While the majority of players did show for reporting day, one key figure did not as guard Carl Nicks was absent from reporting day.  Bucs general manager Jason Licht said during Wednesday’s WDAE Town Hall broadcast that  he expected every Buccaneer to report for training camp this morning and be ready to participate.

Nicks however was excused by the team for unknown reasons but WDAE’s Rick Stroud is reporting that coach Lovie Smith said that Nicks was excused for the day because of personal reasons.

“He’s been excused for today and that’s all about I know,” said Lovie Smith.  “He won’t be here today and we’ll be able to let you know a little more later.”

Nicks has been cleared for football activities, but the Bucs have indicated they might bring him along slowly.  Other players that didn’t report were safeties Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson, who both missed the offseason program with injuries but have been cleared and are expected to take part in Friday’s practice.

For Lovie Smith’s full press conference, click below.









Photo Courtesy Of Getty Images